Could Lupus Be Causing Your Foot Cramps


If you regularly experience foot cramps and other foot pain, you could have an autoimmune disease that impacts your joints and muscles.

Many people with lupus experience foot cramps. However, lupus symptoms mimic many other illnesses, so it requires a diagnosis from a trained professional.

Learn more about lupus foot cramps to understand the connection better, and ask your provider about the disease.

What Autoimmune Disease Causes Foot Pain?

Foot pain is a common symptom of multiple autoimmune diseases, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendon laxity

Lupus also leads to these diseases, so general care doctors not trained in joint and muscle pain often misdiagnose lupus as those disorders rather than the root cause.

How can you tell whether foot pain is a symptom of lupus or another autoimmune disease?

Why Does Lupus Make Your Feet Hurt?

Lupus is when your immune system attacks your tissues and organs. This results in inflammation and joint pain. Since the feet are predominant in your life, it’s often the most noticeable pain. In fact, 75% of lupus patients experience foot pain.

Does lupus affect the bottom of your feet or the top? Lupus appears in the joints, including the ankle and toes, which can cause top-of-the-foot pain. However, Lupus ball of the foot pain is also prevalent on the bottom.

Symptoms of Lupus

Symptoms of lupus in women and men are similar. However, women are more likely to get lupus than men.

Some early signs of lupus in females and males include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the face
  • Skin lesions
  • Toes that turn white in the cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Lupus toenails that crack or fall off

If foot pain from lupus goes untreated, it can lead to more severe conditions, including vasculitis and potentially amputation. It can also interfere with daily life, as foot pain can limit mobility. That’s why visiting a rheumatologist is crucial as early as possible to limit the long-term impact of lupus on your feet.

How Is Lupus Foot Pain Diagnosed?

Doctors can’t detect lupus with a single test. Instead, they perform a series of labs to eliminate potential causes and narrow it down to lupus.

Some examples of standard labs you’ll undergo include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Kidney and liver assessment
  • Uranalysis
  • Antinuclear antibody test

If you receive a lupus diagnosis, you have several treatment options. The most common are anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants. These all prevent the inflammation from lupus and counteract the attacks on your body.

You’ll also monitor your body and note any changes to your care provider to improve your diagnosis. Since lupus causes low circulation in the feet, poor nerves, and foot deformities, you may notice additional symptoms or related diseases that you’ll need to treat early.

How to Treat a Lupus Flare-Up in Feet

Your goal in treating lupus flare-ups in feet is to limit the pain and avoid complications. One major complication is ulceration which causes serious infections.

Here are some ways to care for your feet before and during flare-ups:

  • Avoid callouses through proper padding and care
  • Wear proper-fitting footwear
  • Practice daily foot hygiene
  • Check your feet daily for potential injuries or callouses
  • Educate yourself on healthy living
  • Receive regular footcare from an approved medical professional

Your medical professional can perform more thorough foot examinations. These examinations catch issues early so you can receive preventative care to avoid more severe problems.

Early Intervention Is Best

With proper care from a knowledgeable professional, you can have a high quality of life even with lupus pain in your feet.

Because doctors often misdiagnose lupus, you’ll receive the most precise diagnosis and treatment from a professional rheumatologist specializing in joint and muscle pain.

The knowledgeable and empathetic doctors at Southwest Florida Rheumatology provide the care you need to treat symptoms early so you won’t face more severe side effects.

Visit one of our three locations at Riverview, Sun City, and Wesley Chapel to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan for your foot pain.

Book an appointment and find relief from your lupus foot cramps.


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